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Letter: Pharmaceuticals’ greed seems to be never-ending

Pharmaceuticals’ greed seems to be never-ending

Let me see if I have this right. Pharmaceutical companies convince doctors that their highly addictive opioid painkillers are safe. Relying on these representations, doctors prescribe these drugs to their patients. Many patients become addicted and the opioid epidemic ensues. Families are destroyed, thousands of lives are lost, medical costs for addiction treatment skyrocket and the pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars.

But that’s not all. Pharmaceutical companies sell drugs designed to combat addiction – in itself not an unworthy endeavor. However, because pharmaceutical opioids were instrumental in creating the opioid epidemic in the first place, they are now profiting to the tune of even more billions of dollars on an epidemic they helped create.

There’s even more. At least some pharmaceutical companies have moved their headquarters offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Yet they continue to be able to participate in the most lucrative pharmaceutical market in the world, receive the protection of U.S. laws and are the beneficiaries of generous U.S. patent protections, all without having to contribute their fair share to support our country.

The irony just never seems to end! Many addicts depend on Medicaid for treatment of their addiction. The proposed health care law substantially cuts Medicaid. And where do the funds from the Medicaid cuts go? You guessed it. Billions are destined to go to tax breaks for already outrageously profitable pharmaceutical companies. This shouldn’t be surprising. According to the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity, pharmaceutical companies contributed as much as $880 million between 2006 and 2015 to lobby politicians to protect their business interests. Might we say that unbridled greed has trumped sanity?

Lawrence R. Bayerl

Orchard Park

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